The jab is approved for up to 1 month of storage at refrigerator temperatures (2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius), though a longer shelf life could ease logistics in smaller clinical settings if authorized, Moderna said in a statement posted Thursday.
"Ongoing development data related to the current formulation of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273) could support a 3-month refrigerated (2-8°C) shelf life for the vaccine in alternative formats to facilitate easier distribution to doctor’s offices and other smaller settings if authorized," the statement reads.
The vaccine is also authorized for 7 months of storage in a standard freezer at minus 20 degrees Celsius. Vaccine formulations under development and the company's next-generation vaccine could see an even longer refrigerated shelf-life, Moderna said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously authorized changes to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, providing extra doses from each vial. The agency announced earlier this month it approved new vials from Moderna that can contain up to 15 doses each, compared with the original vials designed to hold 10 doses. Additionally, regulators said providers can safely extract up to 11 doses from the original 10-dose vials.
The FDA has taken action before to ease temperature requirements for an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. In late February, the agency allowed more flexible shipping and storage temperatures for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The change permitted transportation and two-week storage at -25 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius, which is often found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.
Pfizer previously said the vaccine demonstrated stability when stored at these temperatures and the approval would allow greater flexibility for shipping, distribution and pharmacies' and vaccination centers' management of the shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.